An anonymous online survey about self-care and self-harm behaviors

Principal Investigator: Susan W. White, Ph.D., Associate Professor
Co-Investigator: Brenna Maddox, M.S., Doctoral Graduate Student
Psychology Department, Virginia Tech

Purpose and Procedure
The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the relationships between depression, anxiety, self-harm behaviors, and various personality traits in undergraduate and graduate students. It is estimated that approximately 1,000 Virginia Tech students aged 18 and older will participate in this study. Your participation is completely voluntary. You will be asked to complete a series of questions about your behaviors, feelings, and experiences. Please read each question carefully and try to answer each question to the best of your ability. It is estimated that it will take approximately 45 minutes to complete these questions. If you choose to participate in this study, you will be directed to a secure website to complete the survey.

Risks and Benefits
This survey should not take a great deal of time to complete, but it is time that you could spend doing other activities. Also, some of these questions are related to problems (e.g., anxiety, depression) that you may have experienced or are currently experiencing. These questions could make you feel uncomfortable or possibly trigger negative memories. Please remember that, at the end of the survey, we provide a list of several services available to help you if you would like someone to talk to. While some of the agencies listed provide services free of charge, some do charge for services. If you choose to seek treatment from a provider who does charge for the services, it is your responsibility to pay for these services. Also, if the questions are too distressing for you, please remember that you can stop at any time.

There is no immediate and direct benefit to you for completing this survey. However, we hope that results of this project can help in designing future research to benefit students. No promises or guarantees of benefits have been made to encourage you to participate.

Costs and Payment for Participation
There is no cost for participating in this survey, nor is any direct payment offered. However, if you are in a Psychology class that uses the Sona system, you will be offered one extra credit for participating in this study. For information about how this extra credit will affect your grade and alternative ways to earn extra credit, please speak with your class instructor. Please refer to the Sona system to receive your extra credit: Even if you do not complete the whole survey, you will still be entered in the Sona system to receive the credit.

Some students are not in a class that uses the Sona system. If you are a student without access to Sona extra credit, you will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win one of four $20.00 cash prizes. Even if you do not complete the whole survey, you will still be entered in the raffle. Winners will be contacted by e-mail and asked to collect their cash prize from Williams Hall on campus.
Your e-mail address is collected at the bottom of this page and will be used solely for the purpose of assigning credit on the Sona system or entering you into the raffle, if applicable. In order to receive credit on Sona or be entered in the raffle, you MUST enter your e-mail address at the bottom of the page. The answers you give in this study will not be linked to any personally identifying information, and your e-mail address will be stored separately from your survey answers. Subject numbers will be assigned for data storage, and personal information will not be associated with the subject number. As such, all of your answers will be kept strictly confidential and anonymous. Only Dr. Susan White, Brenna Maddox, Sona administrators, and trained research assistants will have access to the list of participants’ email addresses (without a link to survey answers).

It is possible that the Institutional Review Board (IRB) may view this study’s collected data for auditing purposes. The IRB is responsible for the oversight of the protection of human subjects involved in research. If you would like to contact the graduate student conducting this study or her advisor, you are welcome to do so. Contact information is at the bottom of this page.

You do not have to participate in this survey and, if you choose to participate, you can stop at any time. We do ask, however, that you try to answer every question completely to the best of your ability.

Subject’s Responsibilities

As a participant in this study, you voluntarily agree to participate in this study. You have the following responsibilities:

1. Be at least 18 years old.
2. Complete the questions to the best of your ability.
3. Contact the researchers if you have any questions about the study.
4. Contact an agency listed on the resources sheet provided if you feel the need to talk to someone or if you become upset while participating in the study.

Questions/Contact Information
If you have any questions about the protection of human research participants regarding this study, you may contact Dr. David Moore, Chair Virginia Tech Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects, telephone: (540) 231-4991; e-mail:; address: Office of Research Compliance, 2000 Kraft Drive, Suite 2000 (0497), Blacksburg, VA 24060 or David W. Harrison, PhD, Chair Departmental Institutional Review Board, telephone: (540) 231-4422 ; e-mail:

If you would like to speak with a member of this research team, please call Brenna Maddox or Dr. Susan White at the Psychosocial Interventions Lab at (540) 231-6744 or e-mail: or

Before continuing on to the survey, we ask that you please print a copy of this form for your records.
By entering your e-mail address below and continuing to the survey, you acknowledge that you have read this document and that you voluntarily consent to participate in this study.

We appreciate your input and thank you for your time and help in this study!

Question Title

* 1. E-mail address (if you are eligible for Sona credit, please provide the e-mail address that is linked to your Sona account):

Question Title

* 2. To ensure accuracy, please re-type your e-mail address:

Note: This information is required in order to receive credit on the Sona system or to be entered into the raffle. If you have multiple e-mail addresses, it is important that you provide the e-mail that is linked to your Sona account (if applicable), as it is the only information that we will be able to use to assign credit on Sona. If you are not eligible to receive Sona credit, we still need your e-mail address in order to enter you into the raffle.

Question Title

* 3. Are you currently eligible for Sona extra credit?